Bowling Green, KY (PRWEB) December 16, 2011
Kentucky nursing home abuse and neglect lawyer Lee Coleman today endorsed a recommendation to penalize nursing homes that use powerful psychiatric drugs inappropriately to calm patients who have dementia.
“We support the recommendations by U.S. Health and Human Services Inspector General Daniel Levinson that nursing homes that continue to inappropriately drug their residents with antipsychotic medications be denied Medicare payments for these drugs,” said Coleman, of Hughes & Coleman Injury Lawyers, a Kentucky personal injury firm that focuses on protecting the rights and interests of nursing home abuse and neglect victims.
“Medicare officials must step in to curb this dangerous practice, because they hold the purse strings,” Coleman said.
According to a Fox News report, Levinson recently told the Senate Committee on Aging that hundreds of thousands of elderly nursing home patients in the U.S. with dementia regularly receive drugs designed to control hallucinations, delusions and other abnormal behavior in people suffering from schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
Despite repeated government warnings that the practice is unapproved, nursing homes administer antipsychotic drugs to control the aggressive behavior that is sometimes symptomatic of dementia, the report said. Antipsychotics raise blood sugar and cholesterol, often resulting in weight gain and other side effects dangerous to the elderly.
Levinson proposed that Medicare force nursing homes to pay for drugs that are prescribed inappropriately and consider barring nursing homes that continue to use antipsychotics inappropriately from Medicare, according to the Associated Press.
“This is another instance of nursing homes taking the easier way out instead of providing the services to their patients that they are contracted to provide,” Coleman said. “This is elder abuse with potentially deadly consequences, and it cannot be tolerated.”
Hughes & Coleman, with offices in Bowling Green and Louisville, has investigated elder abuse cases in Kentucky and Tennessee and obtained compensation for victims through personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits against nursing homes and similar skilled-care facilities.
“Family members of nursing home patients should ask about the drugs being administered to their loved ones and educate themselves about what the drugs named are meant to do,” said Kentucky elder abuse and neglect lawyer and Hughes & Coleman partner J. Marshall Hughes.
“Legal guardians of elderly relatives have a right to this information and, unfortunately, must be proactive in looking out for the welfare of nursing home residents instead of relying on the home’s staff to always do what’s appropriate.”
Anyone who suspects they or an elderly loved one is being administered improper medications in a nursing home or other care facility, or who is otherwise suffering from elder abuse, should seek the help of a Kentucky nursing home abuse and neglect attorney, Hughes said.
“At Hughes & Coleman, we take seriously the duty society has to protect our elders from those who would neglect or abuse them,” added Coleman. “We stand ready to assist, advise and stand as zealous advocates for the elderly and those who have been tasked with caring for their elderly family members.”
About Hughes & Coleman Injury Lawyers
Hughes & Coleman Injury Lawyers, with Kentucky offices in Bowling Green, Elizabethtown, Lexington and Louisville, is dedicated to protecting the rights and interests of nursing home abuse and neglect victims, as well as the families who care deeply about their elderly loved ones.
Partners J. Marshall Hughes and Lee Coleman are accomplished injury attorneys and advocates for people who have suffered from nursing home neglect and abuse, as well as auto accidents, brain injury, drug injury, defective products, environmental dangers, fire and burn injury, insurance disputes, motorcycle accidents, premises liability, Social Security disability, stock fraud, truck accident injury, workers’ compensation and wrongful death.
For more information contact Hughes & Coleman Injury Lawyers at (800) 489-6000 or use the firm's online contact form.